Isekai: 1.12

I’d thought about this a lot over the years. “The three weeks?”

“Yeah. It’s not like there are rules, but she’s not stupid. She must have snagged you on the right day, then went back to set you up the night before, and somehow missed. Like something changed between A and B, or from your viewpoint B and A, and it threw off her aim.”

I tried to wrap my head around the idea that she’d slept with me before I slept with her, but found myself more focused on the girl beside me. “You’re not really twelve, are you?”

“Ten, technically; we’re early bloomers. But we don’t really change when we’re there.”

She shivered a bit as she said that, and I caught the implication: she’d been ten years old for a very long time, in a place she was glad to be away from. There was a lot more I wanted to ask her, but I changed the subject to try to lighten the mood.

“I’m Jack, by the way. And you’re…?”

She shrank inside her furs, suddenly looking lost and very, very young, and in a tear-stained whisper I could barely hear, begged, “please… give me a name”.

Well, that hadn’t worked.

Ranting On Writing On Notes

(I’ve moved all these asides after the jump, so the series pages flow better)

Scrivener does too much and too little to be a writing tool for me. I need cut/paste, split/join, drag/drop, and commit/revert (not just undo/redo); I don’t need rich-text formatting, corkboards, outlines, templates, targets, annotations, etc, etc. It might be a good revision tool, or a stash for ideas and supplementary material, but it distracts me from the core task of creating raw prose. It encourages mac-dinking, and its quirks can pull you out of the process, like the screenwriter-mode thing I ran into.

Honestly,I might be better off trying to write in something like Github Desktop and use the file system as the filing system. Or just use emacs, shell scripts, Makefiles, and Mercurial, the same way I handle this blog; text files never cheat on you. There is useful metadata in Scrivener, but it’s mixed in with a lot of other things that I simply have no use for when writing.

My Synology home-cloud Notes app is okay for jotting down ideas, but it not only stores them as HTML/RTF, it inserts invisible garbage like no-break spaces that propagate with cut and paste. Also, the app isn’t really being actively developed (first release in two years was a few bug fixes rolled into adding Apple Silicon support), so the promise that it could replace OneNote or EverNote will never be fulfilled. It does sync reliably, except when you have to force restart it or manually accept a new LetsEncrypt cert every 90 days, but it doesn’t make sync status obvious on the mobile clients, so you can get fucked by conflicts.

Every web-based app (which includes a lot of “native” applications that are just browser wrappers) is busted these days, honestly, by defaulting to rich-text paste instead of the usually-impossible and always-inconsistent paste-while-matching-style. Meanwhile, what I always, always want is just-paste-just-the-literal-fucking-letters.

Safari has gotten so bad that if you paste/drop text that looks like a URL into a plain text form input box, you get a formatted link that will not submit cleanly, and pretty much every WYSIWYG “document editor” is complete garbage by design (I’m looking at you, Confluence and Google Docs!). It’s much too easy to get distracted by bullshit like “why is there extra vertical space between these two paragraphs, and how did that end up indented, and why did the auto-numbering break this time?”.

I’m idly looking at Joplin and StandardNotes as things I can host in containers on my Synology NAS and sync between devices, but that whole software space seems to exist only as a reaction to EverNote hosing their customers several years ago, so that their only primary bulk-import options involve “first convert to EverNote export format”. They both stink of JavaScript and Electron, of course.

StandardNotes is fully encrypted, on-the-wire and at-rest, which is nice, but it sounds like even Markdown formatting is a subscription service, incompatible with my-own-cloud-dammit hosting.

I’m seriously considering using 1Password to robustly sync Markdown-formatted notes between all my devices. It’s not really designed for it, and the command-line client is awkward to fit into any workflow (I haven’t yet figured out how to update a secure note from the CLI, for instance), but it’s available on all platforms, the sync is solid, notes are plain-text/markdown, and I’m already paying for a subscription that includes a gigabyte of cloud storage.

(I’d been a happy PasswordSafe user for many years, but the sync is clunky, and since I had to start using 1Password for work anyway, I’ve kinda gotten used to it over the past six months)


Turns out it’s not too annoying to update secure notes in place with the 1Password CLI:

eval $(op signin $account)
op list items --vault $notes | jq -r '.[]|[.uuid,.overview.title]|@tsv'
op get item $uuid --fields notesPlain > $tmpfile
emacs $tmpfile
op edit item $uuid notesPlain="$(<$tmpfile)"

In Bash, at least, and of course a wrapper in a more sensible language would also pass the argument without any interpolation. Note size is of course limited to whatever your environment can fit on a command line, but hopefully they’ll make it more robust in the future, the way they handle the “document” format type.

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